Ticket checkers and railway booking counter staff are in a fix with the state allowing fully-vaccinated people to travel by train after August 15. They claim that it will be a problem to identify genuine travellers.
Around 23-25 lakh people on essential duty have been officially travelling by locals on both Central and Western Railway. There are close to 20 lakh fully-vaccinated people in the MMR who will be eligible to travel. Given the situation, ticket-checking and ticket-booking staff, along with rail trade unions, wants a fool-proof system to check suburban passengers when trains begin from August 15.
The booking window staff and ticket checkers want the new mobile app system or even physical inspection of vaccination certificates to begin from August 11. They said the BMC and Railways must ensure that they face minimum hassle while issuing tickets.
“It is nothing less than a challenge to check someone’s ticket. On a daily basis, we have arguments with people. At times, things even get heated up. The steps to monitor those entering the railway premises must be bare minimum so that movement of people becomes faster and there is less crowd,” said an official.
According to the rail unions, over 50% people travelling by train do not have a valid ticket or ID card. Yet they are travelling. Last year, the railways had provided devices that could check QR codes for mobile tickets. However, they faced problem while implementing them.
Currently, as per official data, there are around 25 lakh daily passengers on both CR and WR. However, this touches around 35 lakh people travelling without a ticket and valid ID card on a daily basis. The Railways expect an addition of 20 lakh more passengers to their official figure after August 15 across Mumbai and its Metropolitan Region.
The railways claim that they are already operating close to 90% of their services. They now plan to increase it further, depending on the crowd.
At present, the CR operates 1612 services though it has capacity of running 1774 services and WR operates 1201 services while it can operate 1367 services.
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